Experienced tourism professionals are not willing to take up vacant positions at the four government tourism agencies due to low salaries, Tourism Development, Land and Christian Affairs Minister John Amaratunga said.
“We are having a problem. We have many vacancies in the four bureaus for high positions. For MDs and Deputy Managing Directors, etc. We can’t find suitable people to man these positions,” he said.
Former Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau Managing Director Ruvini Dias Bandaranayake had resigned under mysterious circumstances this June after Amaratunga had requested her to submit evidence of her academic qualifications.
Immediately after Bandaranayake’s resignation, Amaratunga had said that there would be advertisements on newspapers calling for applications for a successor.
“So the four Chairmen are strained in order to do their work because they are unable to find educated, competent, experienced hands to occupy the positions.
This is some problem we are facing, I have to put it on record,” he said. He noted that there is no interest in joining the bureaucracy due to
low salaries. “The reason for that is the salaries that are offered are low. We have to revise the salaries for experienced managers; we have to pay Rs. 200,000-300,000. That’s what the foreigners pay in the other countries,” he said.
He said that he will be pushing the government to bring in revisions to the salary scales.
According to a highly placed source, the Chairman of one of the tourism agencies earns around Rs. 90,000. However, the officials have many perks, including regular foreign travel. (CW)